The Over-used Trope for Character Development

Over the weekend, I watched Good Will Hunting. No, I’ve never seen the movie before even though it was released in 1997. That was the year I was working 40 hours a week at a garden centre, giving birth to my first child and settling into a new house, so I didn’t watch much of anything.

Throughout the movie, I was waiting for the inevitable. I say inevitable because many of the books I’ve read and the movies I’ve watched the past 20 years have used death to jolt the main character out of their ‘destructive’ daze and into change for the better. I’ve seen it so many times, I can often pick which character will be sacrificed for the good of character development. If it’s a character I’ve invested emotion in, I pull back before the death, knowing it’s coming. If I’m unaware, it feels like a betrayal by the writer.

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Goodreads Giveaway Starts Today

Goodreads GiveawayFrom December 7th until December 14th, Goodreads readers have a chance to win a signed copy of Twistmas – The Season for Love just in time to read for Christmas.

A few years ago, I set out to write a romance that took place at Christmas time. To start the story, I had to answer a few questions…

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Twistmas Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads GiveawayIt’s been over two years since I ran my last giveaway on Goodreads. I usually host one when I publish a new book, but I didn’t last time. Not because I didn’t want to. I was just too busy with working six days a week outside the home.

With the recent release of Twistmas – The Season for Love, I wanted to get the news about the book out to as many people as I could in the shortest amount of time. As you might suspect, it’s a love story that takes place at Christmas time. Although some readers don’t mind reading seasonal stories on the beach in July, most read them in December.

So time is of the essence.

I had intended to have the giveaway on December 1st, but I quickly learned I couldn’t. Things had changed since my last giveaway, and I could not create a giveaway one day to see it up and running the next day.

I had waited until the last minute to create the giveaway because I wanted copies of the book in my hand to ensure I had them to giveaway.

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You’re Not Illiterate; You’re Blind

A few days ago, I received the manuscript for Twistmas – The Season for Love back from my editor. Once again, I was reminded why editors are vital to making you not look illiterate. Or more accurately: why someone other than the author of the story must edit the manuscript.

I do a lot of editing for writers. I’m not familiar with the stories they’ve written; I’ve not read them dozens of times for years on end, tweaking the characters’ personalities, rearranging scenes and ensuring the plot runs in a logical manner. So when I first read a sentence in their story, if something is missing, I can immediately see it isn’t there. That’s right, what isn’t there.

Sometimes what isn’t there is a word, a complete, obvious, full-blown word, such as ‘you’. My editor noticed it wasn’t there in this sentence and added it for me.

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Book Title Drop in Novel

I read about someone doing this before, but never considered it. I thought it would feel forced. Then it happened so naturally that I had to leave it be. Leave it in my novel.

What am I talking about? Dropping book titles in a novel.

Have you done this? Have you mentioned a book title and/or author in one of your stories? Would you consider doing it? Have you read books where this has been done?

While writing Twistmas -The Season of Love during the summer of 2012, I did. Here’s the loosely edited paragraph in which a book gets mentioned:

Jan took a deep breath to calm her already frazzled nerves. As if this noise wasn’t bad enough, the overhead speakers blasted the same Christmas music she’d listened to for more than a month. She used to enjoy Silent Night, but the scene in front of her was far from it. Again, she wondered how Delanie had talked her into leaving her warm home and venturing out into the cold to endure this headache. She glanced at her watch: 7:18 pm. Under normal circumstances she’d be cosied up to a pillow on the chesterfield, enjoying a cup of tea and reading a book at this time, but tonight Deborah Hale and The Wizard’s Ward would have to wait for Santa Claus.

Of course, I had to use a local author. It only seemed right. It also had to be a book I’d read.

Now, while writing “Throw Away Kittens” I almost did it again. Except it didn’t feel natural, so I didn’t. But the thought was there. Charlie–the little guy in the story–walked into the kitchen to find his mother reading a book. I was about to mention the title, but there was no reason why Charlie would know this, so I left it out.

So have you? Will you? Have you considered it?

Throw Away Kitten

Front and Back Matter Matters

Front Matter

The front matter of a book is the material on the pages between the front cover and the first word of the novel. It contains the title page, the table of contents (if there is one), the copyright and publishing information and the dedication.

The title page contains (The minimum a title page should contain is the title of the book and name of author):

…Book Title

…Book Subtitle (if there is one)

…Name of Author

…Publisher

…Place/Year published

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Getting the Numbers: ISBN & CIP

When an author is published in the traditional manner by a publisher separate from themselves, all the business part of a book is taken care of for them. This includes getting an ISBN and CIP.

When you’re a freelance novelist—one who self-publishes—you get to do all this yourself…for good or bad.

ISBN

The acronym stands for International Standard Book Number. This number is exclusive to a book and book format. You’ll find this in the front matter (the pages between the front cover and the first word of the text) of a book, fiction or nonfiction. It’s a 13-digit number which can often appear on the back cover of a book as well.

Here’s what mine looks like for Shadows in the Stone, Book One…The Castle Keepers (bold text added to emphasise point below)

978-0-9868089-7-5     Shadows in the Stone – Electronic Kindle

978-0-9868089-8-2     Shadows in the Stone – Electronic Smashwords

978-0-9868089-6-8     Shadows in the Stone – Book (soft cover)

978-0-9868089-9-9     Shadows in the Stone – Book (hard cover)

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Borrow My Book at the Library

The other day a friend asked if my youth novel, Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove, could be borrowed from the library. It was then I remembered I didn’t promote the availability of my book through this public location.

So here’s the announcement.

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Interview with Diane Lynn McGyver

Recently, I shared a cup of tea and cranberry muffins with author Diane Lynn McGyver. We discussed the coming year and her current projects. Below is the meat of that conversation.

TIBERT: I read your short story Mutated Blood Bonds on Smashwords. It intertwines the mysteries of the ending of the Mayan calendar and the grid lines criss-crossing Nova Scotia. What do you think will happen in December 2012?

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Thea Atkinson has a challenge for you.

Nova Scotia indie author Thea Atkinson has a challenge for blog readers. She wants to accumulate 100 followers by Christmas. With 68 already, it’s not an impossible number to reach for. She’s even offered an incentive: if the goal is reached, a random subscriber will receive one complete Thea ebook package. AND if she exceeds expectations and gains 200 followers of her blog by December 24th, a random subscriber wins the ebook package plus a $25 Amazon gift coupon.

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Book Review: Writing Historical Fiction

Diane Lynn Tibert
Once Upon a Time, it was now . . .

I just finished reading The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom. The first part of the book was a little boring but surprisingly a pleasure to read. Does that make sense? Can something be a wee boring, still a pleasure?

Perhaps I felt a little bored because the first part of the book covered much of the same material I had read many times before: research, libraries, getting your hands on the documents, getting your facts straight, what is history, staying true to history . . .

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My Indie Publishing Experience: Lots and lots of homework

Once the decision to self-publish was made, I had to change my way of thinking. Instead of trying to get noticed by traditional publishers, I had to learn how to do what they did.

I began searching the Internet for stories about indie authors. Actually, in May 2010 I hadn’t yet heard the term indie author. That came several months later. Before then, I referred to those who published their books as self-publishers.

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Donating a Book and a Smile

Diane Lynn Tibert
Expect the unexpected and you'll get caught off guard less often.

The writing world is filled with pleasant surprises, disappointments and moments you may want to remember and forget. Sometimes you can expect that something different will happen. Other times, when you’re doing something for the first time, you’re caught off guard by something that is done to you or something that you must do.

One of those ‘strange to me’ moments happened Monday when I hand-delivered a copy of Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove to my daughter’s school. It all began quite innocently enough. While picking her up for an appointment, I thought it’d be a great time to donate my book to her school library. The office secretary pointed me in the right direction and asked if the book she carried was of special importance to me.

“Yes,” I said with way too little confidence. I hesitated to say more, hoping I’d escape without fanfare. See, I really don’t like fanfare, being the centre of attention. I know it’s something I should get used to. After all, this business dictates that I meet others and show off what I’ve done.

Taking the plunge, I said, “I wrote it.”

That’s where a simple drop off turned into something more.  I was introduced to the librarian as the author. She produced a camera and wanted to take a picture of me and my book.

Gosh, I know I said I like old photographs of me, but I really don’t like getting my picture taken. Still, I took a deep breath, pulled my daughter under my arm and smiled. I smiled as though the librarian wasn’t going to steal my soul with that digital device. I smiled as if I had just been handed an award for my book. I smiled like I was never going to see that picture . . . ever.